Mammography’s benefits are substantial, but its potential harms may be greater than previously realized, which should prompt physicians and patients to make decisions about the screening test based on women’s individual risks and preferences, researchers concluded in a study Tuesday.
Lydia Pace and Nancy Keating, both associated with Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said women should move away from guidelines that call for them to begin having mammograms at a particular age — 40, in many cases — and be screened at frequent intervals. Instead, they should weigh the benefits and risks of mammography with their physicians and determine their tolerance for the uncertainty that may accompany skipping the exam.
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